09/02/11 7:59 PM ET
Mitchell to get experience behind the plate
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
Promoted to the Majors on Monday, Mitchell has been told that he might be crossing catcher off that list.
"I thought it was a joke at first," Mitchell said on Friday. "But after I saw [manager Don Mattingly's] comments, I told him my chips are all in. Whatever they want me to do."
Mitchell, primarily a corner infielder, will catch bullpen sessions in September and work on receiving and blocking balls in the dirt. He's not being converted entirely, just being given a chance to make himself a little more valuable as a utility man.
Mitchell will continue to work on catching in the Arizona Fall League. And though he had already planned to play winter ball in Venezuela, now he will take his catcher's mitt.
"I'm ready to go," he said. "I've got all the gear. J.D. Closser gave me a glove in Spring Training. The full-court press is on."
Mitchell tried this once, in Instructional League four years ago, and remembers the challenge of blocking pitches in the dirt. Also participating in the experiment were Carlos Santana and Koyie Hill, and the two continued behind the plate. Mitchell was soon moved to third base.
Mattingly said that the Dodgers will call up a few more players from Triple-A when Albuquerque's season ends on Monday, perhaps Jerry Sands and Tim Federowicz, and a few more when Double-A Chattanooga is finished with the playoffs. Allen Webster, Shawn Tolleson and Cole St. Claire have been considered.
Dodgers have infield riches in Gordon, Sellers
ATLANTA -- Although manager Don Mattingly said that Justin Sellers didn't do anything wrong in his three weeks as a fill-in, Dee Gordon remains the Dodgers' shortstop of the future and will be given the month of September to convince management that the future begins next April.
"This last month will really determine if this is the guy that can play shortstop next year," said Mattingly.
Mattingly said that Gordon will continue starting at shortstop now that he has returned from a bruised shoulder, whereas Sellers will be moved around the infield, to second and third.
"You know what? He's pretty good," Mattingly said of Sellers. "It's not really surprising, listening to [third-base coach Tim Wallach, who managed Sellers last year]. The kid's got great hands -- he's gotten to everything. He's got range. He has true value. He was always looked at as a kind of utility guy. To be that he has to be able to play short, and he can really play short. And we think he can play the outfield."
Add it all up, and the Dodgers seem to think Sellers can be a Jamey Carroll, at a fraction of the cost. What they don't know is how Sellers will adapt to a bench role, which usually is reserved for such veterans as Carroll.
"It's a lot harder for a young guy," Mattingly said. "He has to know how to stay sharp. Bench players usually are better being veteran guys."
Gordon's tools -- particularly his running speed -- apparently make shortstop his job to lose.
"Dee obviously will play shortstop, for the most part," Mattingly said. "Is he ready? I don't know. So far he's been successful enough. To me he's holding his own. He'll keep getting better, no doubt. He'll get bigger and stronger. I compare him to [Omar] Vizquel in the beginning. It looked like you could almost knock the bat out of his hands. Some teams look at Dee like that. But he can hit.
"If we think he can play, at some point we have to let him struggle, unless it gets to the point where you see this is not good for him. He's a talented kid, and he'll have to make adjustments, take his lumps. That's how you grow up."
Voting for 2011 Frick Award has opened
ATLANTA -- Current broadcaster Rick Monday and former broadcaster Ross Porter are on the 2011 ballot for the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award.
Fans can vote online by clicking here. Voting concludes at 2 p.m. ET on Sept. 30. The top three fan selections will appear on the final 10-name ballot, and the winner is selected by a 20-member electorate. The winner will be announced at baseball's Winter Meetings in Dallas in December.
Three Dodgers broadcasters have won the Frick Award -- Red Barber, Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin. Another Frick Award winner, Ernie Harwell, worked in the Dodgers' booth for two seasons (1948-49).
Monday, a veteran of 19 seasons on the field, has been a Major League announcer for 27 years, 18 with the Dodgers. He was nominated for an Emmy as host of the Dodgers' pregame show on KTTV's "Dodger Central" in 1988 and was a color commentator for CBS-TV during the College World Series championship game in 1988.
Porter was a member of the broadcast team along with Scully for 28 years. He holds the Major League record for the longest consecutive play-by-play by one announcer, having called the action in a 22-inning game between the Dodgers and Expos on Aug. 23, 1989. A play-by-play announcer since the age of 14, the University of Oklahoma graduate is the only broadcaster to have called the action for both a World Series champion (1981 and 1988 Dodgers) and an NCAA basketball champion (1990 Nevada-Las Vegas).
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.